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Cyclists, event planners, historians seek $40,000 in hotel/motel grants

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Le Mars City Council members are expected to act Feb. 17 on a total of $40,000 in Hotel/Motel Advisory Board grants for applications discussed during Tuesday's council session.

The board has recommended funding for 11 of the 13 local entities submitting requests for a projected $100,000 in available funding. Final action on the recommendation has been tabled until the next council session to allow time for public input on the recommendations.

Recommended grant recipients, respective projects and funding amounts include: Plymouth County Cyclists (R.A.C.K.S) - purchase/installation of 12 cycle racks within the city of Le Mars, $2,975.36; Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce - 2010 Ice Cream Days, $8,775.00; Le Mars Main Street Program - annual Scoop Da Loop, $1,000; Le Mars Main Street Program - new Madonnari Chalk Art Festival, $4,000.

Plymouth County 4-H and Agricultural Society - updating the Hall of '84, Plymouth County Fairgrounds, $4,000; Plymouth County Historical Museum - production of a 12/25 minute multi-media history of Le Mars, $2,800; Town and Country Toy Club - marketing/expenses for annual Toy Show and Auction, $450.00.

Gehlen Catholic Schools - construction of youth/junior high football concession stand/restrooms, $5,000; city of Le Mars - purchase/upgrading of tables/chairs at the Convention Center, $3,500; city of Le Mars - purchase of additional chairs, Willow Creek Golf Course, $1,500 and National Traditional County Music Association - marketing/promotion of 2009 event Aug. 31 - Sept. 6, $6,000.

Angie Watson, chair, Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory Board, has requested that $60,000 remaining from the $100,000 be allocated to the new Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau's community marketing initiative scheduled to begin July 1.

Watson said the Hotel/Motel Advisory Board is recommending that three of the grant recipients, the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce, Le Mars Main Street Program and Town and Country Toy Club, receive less than requested, seek additional funding for the events from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Watson said the advisory board feels this will offer expanded community promotional/marketing assistance or, as she put it, "more bang for the buck" for the three group's respective projects.

Councilman Rex Knapp liaison on the advisory board, said he is hopeful that the council approves the board's recommendations as made noting the improved credibility shown by the board since implementing new grant standards and award guidelines established two years ago.

Mayor Dick Kirchoff said he felt the advisory group had devoted "a great deal of time" to consideration of the grant requests.

"It was not something that has been done overnight," Kirchoff said. "The members worked hard, and have, I feel, made their decisions on an honest basis. They are to be complimented for their efforts."

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